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4 Iron Range school districts move forward with collaboration

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HIBBING, MN-- Four school districts located in the central Iron Range have agreed to move forward towards collaboration.

The Hibbing, Chisholm, Floodwood, and Nashwauk-Keewatin school districts announced they will be looking for guidance on how the districts can collaborate after positive survey results.

Recently, a Google document containing a survey for community members was sent out asking whether they would support the collaboration.

With 80 percent of the total 1,300 survey results saying they would support some type of collaboration, district officials said they will be searching for a facilitator.

This facilitator will meet with school board members from each districts to discuss collaboration details.

Superintendents from the four districts said they hope this collaboration will create new opportunities for students.

Janey Blanchard, Superintendent of the Chisholm School District, said that the focus will be on collaboration and not consolidation.

"This is all about improving opportunities for kids," said Rick Aldrich, Hibbing Superintendent.

Nashwauk-Keewatin Superintendent Craig Menozzi noted that one of the main reasons the districts are seeking to collaborate is teaching staff.

Each district wants to offer more College in the Schools (CIS) classes to students but needs to have certified teachers to do so. Between the four districts, students would have more opportunities to take CIS classes.

Things like extracurricular activities and school events like proms would still happen independently in each district.

The districts are hoping the facilitator will help the schools dive deeper into the questions asked in the community survey, run community meetings, and have individual meetings with school boards.

Money for the facilitator comes from a grant of $15,000 from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, as well as an additional $15,000 in matched funds, which will be split evenly between the districts.

The goal is to find a facilitator by the end of June.

Larissa Milles

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